Lightbulb moment at the canter today
 
 

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Lightbulb moment at the canter today

This is a discussion on Lightbulb moment at the canter today within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    • 5 Post By MyBoyPuck
    • 1 Post By tinyliny

     
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        07-25-2014, 05:02 PM
      #1
    Trained
    Lightbulb moment at the canter today

    So my last 3 dressage tests have had the same comment, "horse on forehand" during the canter circles. I am very body position challenged at the canter and usually look something like an 8 year old attempting to ride a mechanical bull with legs, arms and torso going in all different directions. My horse does not find canter to be an easy gait due to his conformation, and I think I had gotten lazy and decided between the two of us, it was just going to stay a 6 or 7.

    You all know how much time I spend on these forums. Multiply that by 3 other forums and a lot of down time at work and I've picked up a few tidbits. I remember Kayty saying something about keeping your elbows glued to your sides at the canter and following with your hips or something to that affect. On another forum, I had mentioned my forehand canter while suggesting to another poster that it helps to really push your horse's balance limits at all gaits to increase your scores. Someone else mentioned that my horse might very well have good balance at the canter but something else might be missing instead. It was then that my brain went DUH and I realized I was pushing his limits without supporting him at the same time.

    Today I warmed up riding squares at the walk and trot all geared toward inside leg/outside rein. Once he was not protesting at the 90 degree turns, we softened the squares to an octagon and finally a circle. I still kept asking for more more more, but being careful to frequently half halt and keep him balanced on that outside rein. We then tried the elusive canter. I sat tall, opened my shoulders and really thought about Kayty's advice about the elbows being part of the torso. When my horse took a stride that felt like he was losing his balance, I did a hard half halt or added a point of the octagon to keep him on that outside rein. For the first time in a long time, his canter felt GOOD. I could feel my hips moving, he felt light on his feet, he seemed to relax despite being asked for so much more. I wish I had it on video to see if it looked as how it felt, but it was an interesting ride. These forums can be great things for solving puzzles.
         
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        07-27-2014, 05:58 AM
      #2
    Trained
    Woohoo!! Congrats mate, that first stride that you actually feel in control and uphill is one that will stick with you forever. I vividly remember struggling for years at canter, always being 'so-so' then struggling and out of control when required to canter a diagonal, loop or towards a medium.
    Then like you, it clicked. I was asking more without actually helping my horse. I planted my backside in the saddle, kept my core engaged, sat back and glued my elbows to my hips. Then I asked for a walk- canter. And my lord... That canter immediately became uphill, in control, with my seat and oh so easy to sit on. At that moment I worked out how to ride a collected canter and a pirouette. No spinning the horse around hoping for the best, I could actually sit a horse on it's backside and lift the forehand. Pirouettes are EASY once you discover how to lift the wither!!!
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        07-28-2014, 12:46 AM
      #3
    Yearling
    Gotta love them lightbullb moments! I am actually working on the exact same thing right now- diamond points at the canter to stay on the balance beam (as my trainer puts it) and in the outside rein. I am also in the process of saddle searching, as mine currently sits like a party hat on my horse. It is incredible how much quicker he is to lighten the forehand in a saddle that is closer to his correct fit- it truly makes a world of difference.

    My body issues of collapsing my right side really turn up in our right lead canter, but my recent lightbulb moment was when my instructor kept urging me to the right side of my saddle- when I was finally in the center of my horse's back to me I felt like a trick rider hanging off the side of him lol! But as soon as I was in position his stride changed dramatically, more relaxed over the back and really getting that jump coming through from behind, it was a great ah-ha moment!

    Keep it up!!
         
        07-28-2014, 01:31 AM
      #4
    Super Moderator
    How very interesting. I'll see if I can in even a small way incorporate that, you guys. Neat stuff!
    DreaMy likes this.
         
        07-29-2014, 07:19 PM
      #5
    Trained
    Kayty, I must say it was that once thing you said about the elbows to the hips that really brought it together. I have had many different instructors over the years. Not one ever mentioned that very important thing. Worse yet, almost all have yelled at me to follow my horse's head motion with my hands resulting exactly the opposite of what provides the overall core connection. For decades I have been letting my elbows wander forward every stride...headdesk. I have been not feeling so great this week, so I haven't had time to recreate my momentary success, but I'm going to try soon. Thanks again for mentioning that very crucial part of a puzzle I thought I would never put together!
         

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